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Old October 22, 2011, 11:22 AM
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NightRain NightRain is offline
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Default HD 6970 + Dedicated GT 430 Hybrid Physx Mini Review

So I decided to test out using a Hybrid Physx solution. My system is in the sig and I've added a GT 430 1GB card with 128-bit memory bus. These are the results I've scored so far. Is it worth while? I haven't decided yet. What do you think?

All results are at 1920x1200 with MAXED game settings. AMD 11.10 Preview 2 and NVIDIA 280.26 with Hybrid 1.04ff patch applied.

UPDATE: Added a EVGA GTX 460 1GB FTW card to compare Physx results and final comment.

No Physx

BATMAN: AA - min 100, avg 187, max 243
Mafia II - 57.4fps
Alice Madness Returns - 110FPS

With Physx HIGH no GT 430

BATMAN: AA - min 13, avg 33, max 41
Mafia II - 17.2fps
Alice Madness Returns - 28 FPS

With Physx HIGH - GT 430 installed

BATMAN: AA - min 56, avg 116, max 177
Mafia II - 36.7fps
Alice Madness Returns - 72FPS

With Physx HIGH - GTX 460 installed

BATMAN: AA - min 61, avg 119, max 178
Mafia II - 39.1ps
Alice Madness Returns - 77FPS

Mirror's Edge

AMD 6970 Physx Off- 242fps
AMD 6970 + GT 430 Physx On - 128fps
AMD 6970 + GTX 460 Physx On - 132fps

Cyrostatis Benchmark High settings 1920x1200 DX10

AMD 6970 Total Time 688.108s
Total Frame count 9821
Average fps 14.3
Minimum fps 5.3
Maximum fps 167.5

AMD 6970 + GT 430 Total Time 147.212s
Total Frame count 9821
Average fps 66.7
Minimum fps 43.1
Maximum fps 153.9

AMD 6970 + GTX 460 Total Time 143.754s
Total Frame count 9821
Average fps 68.3
Minimum fps 44.2
Maximum fps 161.1

Fluid Mark 120000 particles, 7 emitters, 19201200 fullscreen, PostFX enabled, Async mode ON: With GT 430 card installed - Global score: 430 points, PhysX score: 68 points (11 SPS avg), GraphX score: 361 points (61 AVG avg)

Fluid Mark 120000 particles, 7 emitters, 19201200 fullscreen, PostFX enabled, Async mode ON: With GTX 460 card installed - Global score: 446 points, PhysX score: 73 points (12 SPS avg), GraphX score: 369 points (63 AVG avg)

3DMark 11 (not sure if Physx is utilized at all here, scores are slightly lower but very close with GT 430 installed)

AMD 6970 - P5948 and X1938
AMD 6970 + GT 430 - P5917 and X1932
AMD 6970 + GTX 460 - P5931 and X1928

MSI Kombustor DX11 KMARK Exteme 1920x1080 (not sure if Physx is utilized at all here, scores are slightly lower but very close with GT 430 installed)

AMD 6970 - 1845 points (44 FPS, 130000 ms)
Graphics Score: 1382 (25 fps)
Physx Score: 4276 (168fps, 225sps)
FPS: min = 16, max = 202, avg = 44

AMD 6970 + GT 430 - 1834 points (44 FPS, 130000 ms)
Graphics Score: 1382 (25 fps)
Physx Score: 4060 (169fps, 211sps)
FPS: min = 16, max = 205, avg = 44

AMD 6970 + GTX 460 - 1837 points (44 FPS, 130000 ms)
Graphics Score: 1382 (25 fps)
Physx Score: 4086 (169fps, 215sps)
FPS: min = 16, max = 203, avg = 44

Power consumption

System specs below: Idle draw 351W, highest load running above tests is 538W
System with GT 430 added: Idle draw 351W(???) will sometimes jump to 358W, Highest load running above tests is 569W
System with GTX 460 added: Idle draw 393W, Highest load running above tests is 631W

So power consumption is very good with the GT 430 but as you can see the GTX 460 uses a considerable amount of extra power, it also requires two 6-pin PCIe power connectors where the GT 430 is powered by the PCIe slot, this explain it drawing an extra 62W compared to the GT 430 (obviously it could be more in the GPU was stressed more) and an extra 93W compared to having only a HD 6970 installed. This extra power load would certainly add up over the course of a year if you use a lot of Physx games, in fact the extra 42W of power at idle is nothing to just pass off either.

Temps:

There was zero change in my system temps using the GT 430, they stayed within what I normally experience. The GT 430 idles around 33 degrees and maxed out at 50 degrees

With the GTX 460 my system temps were about 1-2 degrees higher on the motherboard and about 3-4 degrees higher on the CPU during these tests. The EVGA GTX 460 1GB FTW idles at around 33 degrees (same at the GT 430) but maxed out at about 61 degrees, so that could account for the extra overall rise in temperature in my case.

Overall the GT 430 matches up well and does allow you to enable Physx in Physx titles when playing with an AMD graphics card. There is a pretty big performance hit compared to having Physx disabled but in all cases frame rates were still playable. There is a pretty substantial upgrade when comparing Physx On with the GT 430 added, it made the difference of being playable or not. The GTX 460 does show it's extra power compared to the GT 430, you will get a few extra FPS using the GTX 460, I noticed between 2-5 FPS increase in most games tested after "upgrading" to the GTX 460. It is also worth noting that the EVGA GTX 460 1GB FTW edition is heavily overclocked out of the box, I ran this card at the factory defaults of 850/1000 which may account for the additional FPS scored, as well as some of the additional power usage. I can only guess, but I would think using a stock clock speed GTX 460 would result in slightly low FPS and slightly lower power draw. There is potential that the FPS performance of a stock clocked GTX 460 could be identical to the GT 430, however the power usage will always be lower on the GT 430. Remember the stock speeds for a GTX 460 is 675/900 and the GT 430 I used is 700/800 which the GTX 460 I used is 850/1000.

With all things considering I think the GT 430 is a very good solution if you must have Physx support with a AMD card. The results are playable frame rates with Physx enabled, something AMD can't do on its own. If you decide to go with a higher GPU like the GTX 460 you may get some extra performance, it is a very small 2-5fps but there is some performance increase. It is difficult to say if this is due to the extra clock speeds, 256-bit memory bus (compared to 128-bit GT 430), or the extra CUDA cores (336 vs 96). The bottom line is that I cannot justify the cost of a GTX 460 when you consider the minimal increase in performance compared to the GT 430, especially if you value power consumption and case temperatures. The GTX 460 will most certainly require extra power and generate extra heat, this costs you extra money on your electrical bill. The GT 430 is also available in a large variety of single card solutions, the GTX 460 does have some single slot designs but they are expensive and add extra heat due to a poorer cooling solution.

I can recommend the GT 430 as a suitable Physx addon if you want Physx support and have a good CPU and GPU to keep the FPS playable. In the end it is up to you to decide if Physx is worth while, the effects look nice and add some extra elements to the graphical experience but the core gameplay is unchanged. Physx is more or less a gimmick but some people want it, if you are one of those people and also have a AMD GPU then you can consider the GT 430 as an excellent solution. It is relatively cheap, generates no additional heat inside your case, and consumes very little power. At idle it consumes almost no power. That is a WIN-WIN-WIN scenario, sure you can get slightly better performance by stepping up to a better card like the GTX 460 but in my opinion the negatives of doing so outweigh the positives.

My personal decision is to stay away from Physx right now, but I will be keeping an eye out for a killer deal on a single slot GT 430, if I can get a great price I'll buy one and use it for Physx. Until then I can live without the added effects and the performance hit.

Please feel free to ask questions if you have them.
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Last edited by NightRain; October 24, 2011 at 05:51 AM.
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